Richard began a career in lighting in 2004 when he joined Modular UK, then the fledgling lighting division of today’s Atrium. This Belgium lighting brand was the first of several introduced into the UK on an exclusive basis by Atrium, after which the business flourished. Then in 2017, Richard was approached by Artemide, one of Italy’s most well-known designer lighting names, to assume the role of UK Country Manager.
However, in 2019 Richard rejoined Atrium who by now had an expanded range of exclusive lighting brands. This allowed him to make decisions and recommendations that better supported his clients. Quality, versatility, value at different price points and the ability to meet the demands for a growing range of applications even when budget was the overriding criterion far better addressed market expectations.
Richard recalls that the original challenge was simply to have a product specified, after which it would carry through to order. Today, and with many more products and suppliers competing, a specification can now be challenged at many stages and by many parties. For example, the architect needs to approve visual appearance, the engineer output and efficiency and the interior designer must be happy with the way finishes match the wider scheme. Meanwhile the technical services engineer requires confirmation that it integrates with other elements, the controls manufacturer that it aligns with the dimming system and the contractor reassured about ease and method of installation, while the sub-contractor needs to be confident of negotiation possibilities with the supplier.
At every stage, there is the potential for the specification to fail and Richard is in no doubt that, as a trusted adviser, his principal role is to defend the specification by reassuring all parties, based as it always is on a surgical approach to the way in which a solution best addresses the key criteria of aesthetics, performance, technological superiority, efficiency, sustainability, regulatory and financial imperatives. Trusted advisers must have the experience and confidence to stand behind properly considered recommendations.
Richard believes the critical value of Atrium lies in having the commercial ability and experience to work through the entire process – and a portfolio of products and solutions to meet every eventuality with no reliance on any single brand. From premium designer brand to mass manufactured range, the common threads of every Atrium specification are both rightness and fitness for purpose and a demonstrable quality infused with unimpeachable value. These are critical considerations now and always but what of future developments? In technological terms, Richard thinks the current trend towards miniaturisation may have reached a peak but there is opportunity for the transfer of technological advances created along the way. Lighting controls will continue to evolve, become more integrated and will offer greater increases in energy efficiency, convenience and versatility.
The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown has forced new ways of working and accidental benefits. For example, working from home has added the time spent commuting to the working day, making it more flexible and aiding the work/life balance. Video calling (though not without its problems) means that many meetings don’t require travel to and from offices. Productivity and efficiencies can rise and it will be important to decide which of these new ways of working are carried forward. Atrium is working on just such a plan so we emerge leaner, fitter and more productive with more time to devote to project scrutiny and client support.
Our fundamental task will always be to remove the stones from clients’ shoes
While much change is in development, what is certain is that businesses and brands will change. Brands will recognise that their pursuit of a common global proposition and message should increasingly adapt to local market priorities and objectives, subject to differing levels of regulatory control.
But there will be continuity and constancy. Richard sums it up by saying ‘Our fundamental task will always be to remove the stones from clients’ shoes. And I know that Atrium has the people, the experience and the skills to do that exceptionally well’.
Product : The Running Magnet
Why: the standard product itself is incredibly flexible with the number of mounting options and lighting modules available, and then with the chance to adapt the layout once installed.
Plus : even better is the number of non-standard options that can be offered that originate from the catalogues product…emergency back-up in the profile, standalone semi-recessed spots, surface spots, magnetic spots, single-arm, double-arm, special RAL, special metal finish, different LED chips to increase output, different drive currents to change output, different lenses (silicone, PMMA, Gaggione, ODL, Brightview), optics, accessories.
In a nutshell: it is a never-ending expansion of the product line that can support a multitude of applications.
Product: Light Shadow
Why: the perfect combination of technical excellence and aesthetic finesse.
Plus: Incredible optical control for anti-glare appearance, different colour ways to bring a decorative touch to any environment (or keep as monochrome if preferred), fixed and adjustable, IP rated (in some versions), mix of lengths and beam angles. Rectilinear form providing a circular beam, wall-wash options, surface options, Running Magnet integrated options, and now with standalone Light Shadow Dot and Light Shadow Pro variations.
In a nutshell: All really well priced. It deserves to be a go-to option for the lighting design community.